Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower

One of my favorite days to hike is Columbus Day! I get the day off from work and school and it’s a day to go outside and play because it’s my favorite time of the year–FALL! Because I ran a half marathon on Sunday, I didn’t want to do a very strenuous hike, so I picked Hurricane Mountain in Keene, a ~6 mi hike RT.

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We started at the trail on 9N in Keene, the shortest of the two trails to Hurricane. The trail had been re-routed and was a bit longer than the 2.6 miles, I think it was more like 3. The trail was nice! There were fresh wood planks over the bogs, and the trail was mostly dirt, which felt nice on my feet!

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The first lookout point on the trail gave us a nice view of the foliage. I was impressed that there were still leaves on the trees up here! Gorgeous.

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The second lookout point was a great view. We could see the tiny firetower on top of the mountain–that’s where we were headed! We stopped for a snack and then continued on. It looked much further than it was.

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The top!

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The rocky summit offered a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains. Amazing. One of my favorite hikes to date!

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We spent some time enjoying the views. It got a bit chilly on top! Then we headed back down, it was a quick descent.

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Hurricane Mountain
~6.0 mi RT from Route 9N Parking Lot, Keene
3678′ Elevation
~2,000′ Ascent

Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon 2014

Sunday was the Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon! This was my first half marathon back in 2010, and I like running it when I can because it does hold a special place in my life!

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This year it was Heather‘s first half marathon! I offered to pace her and Alicia during the race.

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I got to the starting area at Colonie Town Park at around 7:45. The race started at 8:30. We had some time to hang out and chat before the race began. It was a bit chilly, so everyone had their “throwaway” clothes on. I had some cheap gloves and black sweatshirt that I ditched at mile 1.

The day was gorgeous. There were clear skies and the sun was shining.

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We ran the first few miles at around a 10 minute mile (kind of fast for our goal, which was 10:15-10:45 per mile), but I felt great and just kept on running. I have never ran this half with another person so it was nice to have someone to talk to!

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Everyone was feeling great! We got on the Albany Bike Path and with 5.2 miles left, it was the home stretch! Alicia had a PR and Heather and I came in under her goal of 2:20! 2:19:22 to be exact! I was so proud of them both!

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After the race I took advantage of the post-race massage tent, which was nice. I also  stuck around after changing in the changing tent to watch some of our marathoner friends finish. I love watching the end of a marathon! It’s so inspiring and I’m really excited for mine in less than two weeks.

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Another medal for the rack!

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After the race a few of us went to the Olde English Pub for a celebratory beer and brunch. It was delicious and much-deserved!

On Marathon Training – Time to Taper!

Sunday marks two weeks until the big day–Marathon Day! Last weekend I ran my longest run of marathon training, my second 20-miler! I decided to run two 20s this time, just because I felt like it would prepare my legs a little bit better. Both of them went well, and I managed to stay at goal pace, under 11 minute mile.

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My training for this marathon was a bit different than my past training plans. I followed a plan loosely. I didn’t stick to it religiously. I ran about three times a week, with long runs on the weekend and and during the week I did yoga or piyo for some cross training. Sometimes I substituted a long run with a long hike and a Ragnar Relay which worked out well because one gave me a lot of time on my feet and the other gave me a lot of hill work. The most important thing I did was get in the crucial long runs, the 16 miler, the 18 miler, and two 20s. I think this is the most important part of my training!

Usually I can’t run a race without a goal, and this one is no different!

“A” Goal – Finish in 4:35:18, average pace of 10:30 per mile – both my 20 milers were run in 10:50/mile average pace, so this might be a stretch, but there is a chance I’ll have a really great day. However, I’m not counting on this one

“B” Goal Finish in 4:44:55, average pace of 10:52 per mile – seems more realistic given my training

“C” Goal Finish under 4:54:01 (my marathon PR from 2013), average pace under 11:13 per mile – hopefully I can PR again because this year I’m not injured!

Of course, anything can happen on race day, so I’m ready for anything!

Ragnar Relay Adirondacks 2014

This past weekend was my third Ragnar Relay Adirondacks! Ragnar Relay is a 200 mile relay race from Saratoga, NY to Lake Placid, NY. My team had two vans, 6 runners per van. This year I was in Van 2 after two years of being in Van 1. I got to see what the course was like for Van 2!

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Van 2 started running their legs at Gavin Park in Saratoga. I was runner #10!

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We definitely had some gorgeous weather this year for RagnarADK!

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Friday afternoon I had my first leg, 4.7 miles in Glens Falls. It was getting hot and my legs were feeling kind of tired (theme of the weekend) but I pushed through!

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Leg 1 – 4.7 mi
Average Pace – 10:25

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Our team, the Fitastics, was 80s inspired, hence the  hot pink tights I was wearing!

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Our team ran all the way to Lake George, where the next major exchange was, and we handed off to Van 1.

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Soon it was time for us to get some actual dinner! We all went to the ADK Pub & Brewery in Lake George for dinner, which was fun! It was cool to see all the other Ragnar teams there, all decked out in their team costumes and running gear.

We went to the next major exchange point to meet up with Van 1 when they were done with their second legs. We also tried to get some sleep, but I didn’t get much. The exchange was located at a high school and we had some designated sleeping areas where we slept right out under the stars. My next leg was in the middle of the night at around 3:30am in Westport along Lake Champlain, and was also my longest leg.

Leg 2 – 8.3 mi
Average pace – 11:10

This run was so mentally challenging. It was so long and hilly, and not to mention I was running at 3:30am on very little sleep! But thanks to one of our teammates, Emily, I made it through. She ran the last five miles with me, after her own leg. She was amazing! Thanks, Emily!

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When our van was done with our second legs, we arrived the last major exchange to wait for Van 1 to finish!

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We tried to get some more sleep outside, but again, I didn’t get much. Then it was time to head off to run our final and third leg of Ragnar.

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My third leg started in Wilmington and went to the parking lot at Whiteface Mountain. Even though it was challenging, hot, and mostly uphill, it was gorgeous.

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I didn’t mind the hill, as long as I had this view!

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Eventually I hit a point where I was just getting too hot and tired to  keep running strong, and with about a mile left, I added some power walking to the mix.

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Leg 3 – 4.9 mi
Average pace: 12:00

I was glad to be done. Thankfully at one of the exchanges, we had the opportunity to park near the Ausable River. We walked/hobbled down the path, and enjoyed a very refreshing foot soak.

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Just can’t get over how gorgeous it is on this course. The one thing I did like a lot about being in Van 2 was the scenery!

Once our final runner, Christine, was almost done, we drove to the finish line in Lake Placid.

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Soon she came running up and we crossed the finish line as a team! Yeah Fitastics!

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Another successful and fun RagnarADK in the books! Despite some pretty challenging runs, I had a great time and I’m proud for pushing through some of those legs. I ran 18 miles total for the weekend which is indeed an accomplishment.

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Want to read more about Ragnar Relay?

Check out my past recaps from RagnarADK 2012 and RagarADK 2013!

So You Want to Run a Relay Race?

What to Pack for Ragnar Relay

Trail Running

One of my favorite places to be is on the trails. Obviously! Last night I ran at a new-to-me trail at the Pine Bush Preserve Madison Avenue Barrens. The thing I like about the trails here is that they are wide and not too technical (less chance of falling)!

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There is also a variety of trails here, too. One of the loops was pretty sandy, which made for a great calf workout!

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It also kind of felt like running at the beach!

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I think more of my races in 2015 will be trail races, so I’ve got to amp up my trail running and also find some good spots to run. The Madison Avenue Pine Barrens is now high on that list.

New to trail running and thinking of running a trail race soon? Here are some tips!

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1. Run on trails. This may sound like a no-brainier, but actually running on trails is the best way to train for a trail race! Road running and trail running are SO different. There are many obstacles like roots, rocks and uneven ground on trails that you will encounter, and the best way is to practice so your body can get used to using those different leg muscles. My favorite places to trail run in Albany are the Pine Bush, Thacher Park, Tawasentha, and Five Rivers.

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3. Incorporate hills into your runs. Most trail races have elevation. Surprise! Since many boast great views–you can’t get a view unless you climb high (usually), so hill work is essential to be prepared for a race with elevation.

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3. Wear proper footwear. Proper trail running shoes are also important! Sometimes I can get away with wearing my regular road shoes on a non-technical trail, but I find that trail shoes help a lot. They are more stable and grip the ground better and my feet just feel better in trail shoes in general.

Looking for a local trail race? Here are some local ones!

10/26 Squirrelly Six & Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon at Thacher Park
11/9 - After the Leaves Fall Half Marathon at Minnewaska State Park (I’m already signed up for this one!)